By Doc Don Davis ………………
Probiotics are collections of certain bacteria that are considered helpful in maintaining gut health. They are the intestinal fixers that just about everyone has heard of. Even the stomach doctors -the gastroenterologists are beginning to suggest their use. That’s because there have been hundreds of studies showing that probiotics are a big help when the gut is acting up. I’m won’t go into the definition and causes of Irritable bowel syndrome here, you can see the other videos on our site for that. Let’s just say that it’s all about bloating, gas, altered bowel habits and abdominal pain. But are probiotics the right thing to use when trying to rid yourself of IBS? Well, Yes and No. I know that’s a lousy answer but I think I can clear up the problem in short order.
IBS is commonly associated with a reversal of the good bacteria to bad bacteria ratio or “dysbiosis”. In other words, the “good” bacteria have decreased while the “bad” bacteria increased. So it seems reasonable that if you were to normalize or manipulate this imbalance, your IBS symptoms would improve. But it’s sometimes difficult to say if the faulty bacteria lead to IBS or if IBS changes the environment of the gut bacteria. Either way, there is a clear connection and many studies show an improvement in IBS symptoms with probiotics, unfortunately sometimes they can make things worse. You may ask: How can they improve IBS in some people but not in others?
Well, Let’s get back to the bacteria for a moment to explain how this happens. When we are talking in a generalized way about the collection of bacteria in the gut environment, we call it the “Microbiome”. Some studies show over a thousand different species in the gut and of those, 300-500 that are present in any one person. This sounds like an unusual circumstance until you consider that a recent study at North Carolina State found that there are over 1,400 strains of bacteria in human belly buttons. Yes, we are covered with bacteria both inside and out.
We also have to consider the tremendous numbers of total bacteria in the GI tract which is about 100 trillion, or ten times that of human cells.So to expect a normalization of the gut flora with a capsule of just a few species of bacteria is wishful thinking. To make matters even more complex the makeup of the colon bacteria are different in healthy people that live in different places, so we really don’t yet know exactly which type of bacteria to use.
But there is an even bigger problem with this line of thinking. Recent, and I believe “solid” evidence shows that the vast majority (80%) of IBS sufferers have a condition where the bacteria begin to migrate up out of the colon where they’re supposed to be, to the small intestine when where they’re not. This is called Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth or SIBO for short.Therefore IBS wouldn’t strictly be an issue with what ratio of good to bad bacteria we have, but where in the intestines they live. In this case probiotics, no matter what type, could worsen your symptoms of gas, bloating and pain because they would increase the bacteria in the small intestine.
In non-SIBO IBS-where the bacteria are still located in the colon, probiotics are helpful because they can directly regulate the immune system, decrease the affects of lactose – or dairy intolerance, decrease cancer promoting enzymes by bad bacteria, help with constipation, decrease upper respiratory and urinary infections, increase the cleansing wave of activity of the intestines, and can help you lose weight by decreasing inflammation.
So how do you know if you should or shouldn’t take probiotics for your IBS.First we would have to figure out, just what is happening in your particular situation. A SIBO test and/or a Micobiome Stool Profile or a Organic Acids test described on another video on our site will go over these in detail and would be very helpful for directing our treatment plan. Then if we see that the bacteria are miss-matched we may need to use a probiotic with a targeted species of bacteria or a probiotic that has a soil-derived origin that we would normally encounter in nature to bring the gut flora back to proper health. However we never want to lose track of the overwhelming evidence that bacteria from eating fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, KambuCha, yogurt or even pickles are can be more affective in the overall scheme of things.
If the gut bacteria have actually moved into the small intestine causing SIBO then we would then have to initiate a program to use botanicals and nutraceuticals to kill the bacteria located there. This is described on other videos on our site. Then we can use appropriate probiotics or fermented foods to re-inoculate the colon with the best ratios of good bacteria. The good news here is that this works and that it is possible for you to get rid of these uncomfortable and life- limiting problems and feel good again.
If you are interested in additional information about natural ways to solve your IBS problem, please visit our site and subscribe to make sure you are getting all our updates and new videos as they come online. And if you would like to work with me personally, you can let me know there too so that we can get that set up as soon as possible. Help is on the way.